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Event: Guillermo Del Toro exhibit

del toro exhibit

@dinsmorality takes a look at the Guillermo Del Toro exhibit...

Pay attention, Angelenos. The Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art (LACMA) has a new exhibit that is sure to excite movie buffs: “Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters.” I had the privilege of attending Monday’s premiere to the public and perusing the exhibit halls that take viewers into the making of a truly visionary artist. The exhibition, which runs through November, “[takes] inspiration from del Toro’s extraordinary imagination [and] reveals his creative process through his collection of paintings, drawings, maquettes, artifacts, and concept film art” (LACMA). And what a collection it is. Who knew del Toro was such an avid fan of the sci-fi/horror genre, and his collection solidifies that fandom. His vast collection, normally found in two of his homes he calls “Bleak House” (Yes, two! According to the Los Angeles Times, he bought his neighbor’s house just to fit these items.), is an absolute treat for del Toro fans and worth the visit.

Satan and Death with Sin Intervening, by John Henry Fuseli
Guillermo del Toro may be best known for films like Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboys 1 & 2 (I confess Blade 2 is one of my favorites), as well as his most recent releases Pacific Rim and the ghost story Crimson Peak. While LACMA includes props, storyboards, and costumes from these films and others in the del Toro portfolio, this is not solely a “behind-the-scenes” gallery paying homage to these Hollywood hits. Instead, the curators cleverly weave the gallery into rooms with respective themes, which serve to tell how del Toro gathers inspiration for his projects. If one is familiar with del Toro’s films, it is easy to guess these themes: death and the afterlife, horror, sci-fi, monsters and insects…just to name a few. And one could imagine a young del Toro picking up the comic books of ghouls and monsters now on display, or being moved by a painting depicting, as is titled, “Satan and Death with Sin Intervening,” or paying homage to two of his greatest influences, Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, immortalized in oil on canvas. Del Toro even finds inspiration in surprising places, as exemplified by early concept art for Disney classics, including Sleeping Beauty. He even has an original Medusa painting once used for Disneyland’s Haunted House ride.

Yours Truly Geeks Out.
Within the exhibit halls, one will find a room dedicated to what del Toro cites as his greatest influence to date: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The classic horror tale happens to be my favorite monster story, and I certainly marveled over del Toro’s collection of statues, paintings, and prints related to the original novel up to the Boris Karloff image most have come to recognize. Besides Shelley, del Toro cites Dickens and other Victorian era stories that have influenced his work. So it wasn’t surprising to see that adjacent to the “Frankenstein” room were items related to the period, including costumes and set pieces from his Victorian-inspired Crimson Peak. There are many items in this gallery, so many that only a visitor could truly appreciate this vast collection. Even if you are a casual fan of del Toro’s work, and you enjoy seeing costumes and set pieces, the $25 entrance fee is worth your money. But do not overlook the other items which del Toro finds as meaningful as a family heirloom passed from generation to generation. You may find some meaning, too. For more information, visit LACMA.org.

Boris Karloff in the Makeup Chair with Jack Pierce, by Rick Baker
Portraits of Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, by Michael Deas
Portaits of Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, by Michael Deas

Guillermo del Toro’s notebook; one of many.

Props from Hellboy

Statue of “Pale Man” from Pan’s Labyrinth

“Santi” from The Devil’s Backbone

Eric Dinsmore

Twitter: @dinsmorality

Images courtesy of Eric Dinsmore

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